The Duskfall: A map for DMs whose players stole the airship in the previous map.

You may recognize this map from the last map. It might seem redundant to make a separate map out of it, but your players are probably going to steal it from that map, so this might come in handy. Or maybe you just need a small airship for a party that hasn’t earned a big one yet.

I made a few different versions of this. The one above is the refitted version. The seats are replaced with hammocks and there’s a dinner table in the forward berth. This is for DMs whose parties end up using the Duskfall long-term.

After that, there’s the original version, a version with a Black Loch background, and the refitted version with a Black Loch background.

I did something unusual here and I’m curious what everyone thinks. I added a map of the airship on land to the bottom. It seemed like it might be useful, since a party with an airship will, occasionally, land it. And maybe they land in hostile territory and end up in a fight. Or maybe they leave the ship to go on an adventure and come back to find a bunch of brigands trying to steal it. I felt like there were a lot of situations where it’d be a convenient thing to have, so I thought I’d give it a shot and see what you think.

Next up, I’ll be drawing the map chosen by last month’s Cartographic Congress, the Silver Dragon Inn. This is an inn built over a set of cascading waterfalls, with a dragon’s lair concealed behind the falls. The innkeeper is actually the dragon in human form and the inn has a secret passage to the lair. This allows the innkeeper to turn from Clark Kent into Superman without letting anyone know they’re the same guy. “You get any trouble with bandits around here?” Nope. We sure don’t.

As I mentioned before, on the 4th, I’m taking a trip to Mont-Saint-Michel, the Chateau de Chenonceau and the Chateau de Breze and I’ll be gone for a little over a week. I don’t think I’ll be able to get the Silver Dragon Inn finished by then, but I’ll see how far I can get. I’ll make a post when I’m leaving.

Well, that’s it for now. If you’ve got any thoughts on how I did the airship, let me know!

The Roost

This is the map chosen by patrons in the Black Loch Conclave: a drow outpost in the roof of the Black Loch. This map is complicated to say the least, so let me break it down for everyone.

The Black Loch is a small sea in the underdark. There’s a large hole in the roof of the loch’s cavern, leading up to a sea on the surface. The hole, known as the Great Breach, is about 100 meters wide, with water constantly pouring down the sides.

The falling water does not fill the breach completely, however. There is enough space for an airship pilot– a talented airship pilot– to maneuver a vessel down the center. Not many places in the underdark are accessible by airship, but the Black Loch, very unusually, is.

So, this map is a surveillance outpost located at the bottom edge of the Great Breach. It’s used by the drow to track the comings and goings of airships. The drow also have a hangar here, in which they keep their own airship, known as the Duskfall.

TL;DR: It’s a spy outpost at the bottom of a giant waterfall in the underdark, where the drow keep their airship. I hope that doesn’t sound as insane to you as it does to me.

Anyway, you may have noticed that this map has a map of an airship inside it. I’m going to take a day or two to make a separate map of the airship next. You may need it if you bring your players here, because, let’s be honest: they’re going to steal it. Seriously, no matter who your players are or what kind of game you’re running, your party has a one hundred percent chance of stealing that airship, or at least trying to. I honestly can’t imagine a party that wouldn’t. Still, if that’s a problem for you, it can always be a broken airship.

Well, that’s about it. Out of twenty ideas for a new location in the Black Loch, this is the one you chose. I hope you all like what I did with it. Anyway, let me know what you think!

Black Loch: The Drow Outpost in the Ceiling (Work-in-Progress)

So, I’m in the middle of coloring the drow outpost in the ceiling of the Black Loch. I decided to put the outpost on the edge of the Great Breach, which led to some interesting ideas. And now, the drow have an airship. In a secret hangar. On the edge of a giant waterfall. In the underdark.

You know, completely normal stuff.

Well, I’m gonna get back to it. I should have it all done in a few more days.

The Black Loch Conclave has ended. Here are the results.

After several rounds of voting, a new location for the Black Loch has been chosen: Kenneth’s proposal of a drow outpost built into the ceiling of the loch, allowing them to keep an eye on the passing ships below. I love the idea and I think it’ll make a great addition to the setting.

Of the twenty new locations proposed, the outpost is the only one that will put a new dot on the map, but it isn’t the only one that will affect the loch. Quite a few of your ideas have inspired me in ways that will affect how I draw the remaining locations. Let’s go over them:


The proposal that came in second was a shipyard run by deep gnomes. When Leo proposed it, my first thought was, “Oh my god… I forgot to put a shipyard in the loch!” I decided that, if this proposal didn’t win, I’d work the idea into the grimlock settlement.

Basically, a team of deep gnome engineers builds ships using grimlock laborers. The grimlocks, who are paid in meat, have come to realize that they get more meat by building ships than they did by hunting. So, the gnomes are rich, the grimlocks are fat, and whoever the grimlocks used to eat are still alive. Everyone’s very happy with the arrangement. Continue reading “The Black Loch Conclave has ended. Here are the results.”

Skatha’s Rest

Skatha’s Rest is the location marked “Travelers’ Ruin” on the map of the Black Loch. The specific travelers who come here are a clan of orog raiders called the Tideborne, who spend most of their time at sea or plundering coastal settlements.

Skatha’s Rest is an old ruin the Tideborne occasionally stop in at to hang out and drink. These folks throw the kind of party that you need to pass CON checks to make it to the end of, so it could be a fun pit stop for your players to make, especially if they’re sailing on a ship with Tideborne crew.

Okay, a couple things. First, the final vote of the Black Loch Conclave is still open. If you’re a patron and you haven’t voted yet, you’ve got one last chance to do so. The two finalists are a deep gnome shipyard and a drow outpost built into the ceiling of the loch. Tomorrrow morning, I’m going to wake up, have a cup of coffee and start drawing whichever map is ahead.

Also, I’m going on vacation early next month. This is really weird for me, since I hardly ever take a day off, but I’ll be away for a little over a week. A few years ago, I spent over three months drawing a map of Mont-Saint-Michel and I finally get to go see the place. While I’m in the area, I’m also going to visit the Chateau de Chenonceau. Yeah, I’m that much of a geek. I draw castles and stuff all day, then I go on vacation to see the castles I drew. It’s legal and you can’t stop me.

Well, that’s it for now. I’ll post again tomorrow once the vote ends, but until then, let me know what you think of Skatha’s Rest!

The Corruption: A Journey Deep into the Heart of Crazy Town

Let’s talk about what this map is intended to be and what I think you should use it for instead. This is a fortified dwarven steelmaking facility that has been infected by the Far Realm. The hellish, alien dimension is slowly pervading reality from below, where the barrier between the realms has weakened the most.

That’s cool and all, but hear me out: hallucinogenic drugs. The party is sent to an abandoned steelworks to recover an advanced dwarven steelmaking crucible. The party will expect that there must be orcs or something living there, but there aren’t. There’s nothing, they can just walk in and get it.

But here’s the thing: on the way, they accidentally ingest some kind of powerful, mind-altering substance. Maybe they fill their waterskins in a creek the locals call the “Stream of Visions.” Maybe the local mushrooms just put out a lot of spores this time of year. In any case, the party consumes a Hunter S. Thompson quantity of hallucinogens without realizing it and strolls into the empty steelworks.

As they begin to explore, the psychotropic substance kicks in and things turn into Fear and Loathing in the Forgotten Realms. There’s stuff coming out of the walls, monsters everywhere, it’s just insanity. At the bottom, they fight some sort of heinous, demonic beast that just flat out wipes the party. Everyone dies. And then they wake up on the floor. Pounding headache, but no monsters. Everyone’s alive. When they make it back to the nearby village, someone’s like, “Oh, no one told you not to drink from the stream? Oopsie.”

The end. That’s what I’d do with this map, anyway. I like playing mind games with the players and this is one I don’t think they’d see coming. I can’t promise they’ll like it, but I’d say they’ll remember it.

Next up, I’ll be drawing the Travelers’ Ruin from the Black Loch. It’s an abandoned building occasionally used by passing sailors to meet up and have a few drinks before getting on their way. After that, I’ll be drawing whichever map wins the Black Loch Conclave, which should be finished fairly soon.

Anyway, that’s it. Let me know what you think of the map! And if you’ve got any other ideas for it, I’d love to hear them.

My wife drew this map.

I’ve been drawing fantasy maps for a living for about 3 1/2 years now and, in my house, there is exactly one map framed and hanging on the wall. It is this map. You think I’m kidding, but I’m not. This might be my favorite map ever.

For context, this is a map of all the places in North America that my wife could identify. It’s important to mention that she’s from Ireland and she was VERY hung over at the time. So, you can laugh at her knowledge of American geography, but only if you know whether Limerick is east or west of Dun Laoghaire. And you have to know how to pronounce Dun Laoghaire.

So, let’s talk about the map. At the top, we have Canada, or rather, CANADA, which is looking good. Below that, we’ve got Ohio, along with Lake Erie above it. Not the most famous place, but it’s where I’m from. Then we’ve got fLorida further down, capitalized in the traditional way. Then, at the bottom, there’s Mexico, which looks pretty solid. Note the possibly-unintentional Baja Peninsula.

Along the west coast, things get interesting. You’ve got an unlabeled California and Oregon, along with a tiny… I’m not sure. Possibly some sort of Canadian Mini-Florida? In any case, she drew an X on it, so there’s apparently treasure.

I’m not sure how useful this map is for RPG purposes, but I put a grid on it just in case. I also made a hex version because, you know, why not.

Well, I hope you like this as much as I do, although I’m not sure that’s possible. This map makes me unspeakably happy.